Ciprofloxacin is available only by prescription and is used to treat certain bacterial infections. It comes in a variety of strengths and forms, including eye drops and ear drops.
Ciprofloxacin ophthalmic (eye) drops are used for treating bacterial conjunctivitis (also called "pink eye") and corneal ulcers. The ear drops are approved to treat bacterial infections of the outer ear or ear canal, known medically as acute otitis externa (sometimes called "swimmer's ear").
Ciprofloxacin drops are not appropriate for everyone. For example, you may not be able to use this medication safely if you have certain allergies or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Although most people tolerate this medication well, ciprofloxacin can cause side effects. The eye drops can cause problems such as eye itching, redness, and burning. The ear drops may cause headaches, ear pain, or itching in the ear. Fortunately, if negative reactions do occur, they tend to be minor and easily treated.
(For more information on these prescription eye and ear drops, click Ciprofloxacin. This eMedTV article describes how this antibiotic works, lists additional side effects, and offers some safety precautions to be aware of before beginning treatment.)